How To grow your restaurant business using customer reviews

How To grow your restaurant business using customer reviews

The development of social media and online business have been changing the way customers purchase a product or a service. In 2018 report, an average customer read 10 reviews before trusting a business. Of all age groups, restaurants and cafe reviews are read the most among customers. After reading a positive review, 50% are willing to visit the restaurant website as a next step. A customer review is a review of a product or a service that customer has experienced with. A review can come from review applications, paper form, and interview. In the world of restaurants, review applications based on location are becoming more and more popular. Standing out are Google Reviews, TripAdvisor, and Foursquare.

Why does your restaurant need customer reviews

Why do we need customer reviews, impact of customer reviews

The halo and horn effect

The halo effect is a social psychology phenomenon. It explains a person’s judgement can be biased by first positive interaction with a human or a thing, leading to general good feelings about that person or that thing. In contrast, the horn effect caused a person to have negative biased perceptions if they see only one negative attribute of the person or the thing.

Customer reviews are important in shaping a customer’s perception of that restaurant. Only one negative review from a customer can break a restaurant’s reputation if its customer support do not deal with it right.

Social proof

Customer reviews are also called social-proof. Social proof demonstrates a social phenomenon when a herd follows its influencer. New customers are usually looking for evidence that a restaurant is good, food is delicious before trying that restaurant. They tend to believe online reviews, influencers, and friends to form their pre-judgement. Customers reviews become one of social proofs that a restaurant want to take advantages to attract more new customers.

Improve from the negative reviews

A restaurant, in order to survive, needs to improve constantly based on customers’ reviews. If the majority of customers feedback that food is no longer of their liking anymore, it is a sign that restaurant is losing its loyal customers. Listen carefully and periodically to your loyal customers feedback to capture how they feel about the food and the environment is a good way to keep them.

Popular review applications

Google Reviews

What is Google Reviews?

Google reviews can be found in all places listed in Google Maps.. Google Reviews allow a user to rate from 1 to 5, leave their comments, suggestions, and upload pictures of your restaurant. A local search report (2017) reviews that more than half of people will visit the place after Google Search. Customers who search Google care about profile photos, Google Reviews, position of the restaurant on search pages (SERP). Setting Google Reviews can play a significant role in attracting half of customers who are searching for where to eat.

How to open an account

In order for a customer to find you on Google Maps, you have to have Google My Business to register your restaurant’s detailed information such as name, open hours, location, menu, profile pictures, etc. It costs you nothing but brinds a tremendous benefits to your business.

Here are detailed steps of how you set up your own business on Google for free:

Step 1

Start with the button ‘Manage now’

Step 2

Fill in the name of your restaurant

Step 3

Add a location of your restaurant

Step 4

Choose the category as restaurant or more specifically, Scandinavian restaurant, Chinese restaurant, fast food restaurant, etc.

Step 5

Fill in your contact details. Your phone number and website can be useful for customer to make reservations, ask about holiday opening hours, and other special needs.

Tips with Google Reviews

  • Encourage customers to leave reviews for you, especially those have strong impression on your food and decor.
  • Reply to both good and bad reviews so that customers know you appreciate every review. You should also build a customer support strategy so that your employees know how to respond to customers.
  • Verify your Google Business. Only verified business can respond to reviews.



What is TripAdvisor?

TripAdvisor mostly serves travellers who are unfamiliar with the country. The site attracts millions of travelers searching and planning their trips. Restaurant review is only one segment of TripAdvisor besides hotel reviews, list of things to do in a new place. If you want to attract travelers around the world, TripAdvisor is for your business.TripAdvisor classifies restaurant into types of food, time of eating, and prices. Sponsor restaurants usually have a first place in the search interphase. Restaurants having a high rate can receive a certificate of TripAdvisor as a sticker to show travelers and earn trust from them.

How to open an account

There are two ways to open a business account in TripAdvisor: request a listing or a user who write about your restaurant has initiated a listing already.

Therefore, the first step is to check whether your business is listed in TripAdvisor

Fill in your restaurant name and location, if your restaurant appears then someone has listed your business. In this case, you click on ‘Claim Your Business’ to provide detailed information that shows your affiliation with the restaurant. TripAdvisor requires business registration and verification to confirm you are the owner/ manager of that restaurant.

In case you are new and none has listed your business, you can request a listing with TripAdvisor. Click ‘Get Listed Now’ bellow the search box, similar to the first way, you would need to provide detailed information for TripAdvisor to confirm you are affiliated with the restaurant.

Tips to know

  • There are several criteria to be qualified as TripAdvisor listed restaurant you should know in advance. Check carefully whether you meet their criteria and are able to list your restaurant.
  • Users who are familiar with TripAdvisor can differentiate between fake and genuine reviews. You should encourage customers to write you a review but should not ask employees, friends, or relatives to write reviews for your restaurant.
  • You can respond to customers’ feedback and earn trust from it.


What is Foursquare?

Read these statistics and you will understand why Foursquare is one of our suggested customer review platforms.

  • 50M of Monthly active users by the end of 2018
  • 12B check-in in 2017
  • 600M photos shared
  • 95M reviews
  • Social media users with higher income tend to use Foursquare (Watch out, fine dining restaurants)
  • 80% local searches on mobile phone turn into customers.

These are reasons why you cannot ignore Foursquare. Owner of a listed restaurant in Foursquare is able to upload photos, manage ads, and view customer statistics. Customer statistics can show you who visits your restaurant and how strong their relationship with the place. It also segments loyal customers and new customers so that you know the ratio of frequency customers to total customers. Customer statistics provides you with customer reviews; as a result, you can improve your cuisine and service hereafter.

How to open an account

Similar to TripAdvisor, you can claim your business or list your own restaurant on Foursquare.

Step 1

Fill in your restaurant name and location.

Step 2

If you see your restaurant name and location below the search box, you can claim your own restaurant, validate ownership and verify the business based on Foursquare requirements.

Step 3

If there is no result of your own restaurant and location, you can add your restaurant into Foursquare. This step also requires you to provide ownership proof and verification.

After listing your business, you can start manage ads, view customer reviews and statistics.

Tips to know

Foursquare does not have the feature that lets you to communicate directly with your customers. However, it provides you customer statistics to show how your business is going and how strong your relationship with customer is.


Every restaurant wants to get as many positive reviews as they can. Fake reviews sometimes do more harm than honest negative reviews. In order to have more customer reviews, you could try one or several methods below:

  • Offer incentives for customers who want to write reviews about you
  • Establish the reviewing venue where customers can vote while they are leaving.
  • Use paid third-party review apps other than free review apps above
  • Apply the halo effect, perfect one of your restaurant attributes such as customer service, cuisine, environment, drink, etc so they can have an overall good judgement on your restaurant

Each person has their own appetite and preference. Sometimes, your restaurants will encounter with difficult customers who are not pleased with everything you offer. They will write negative reviews which, sometimes together with the horn effect, can impact your business. The best strategy in this situation is clear communication and fast response between you and the customer. Review readers tend to read reviews from two sides as long as the communication is clear.

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